By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Chuck Wilson
For better or for worse, the year's true movie season now begins in September, as Hollywood studios and indies alike begin lobbing the good stuff at members of the Motion Picture Academy. Their decision a few years back to hold the Oscars a month earlier has changed release patterns forever. The good news for movie lovers is a newly extended fall movie season. The bad news: an overabundance of riches.
Gems for Fall
The Bubble[September 7]
Two men, an Israeli and a Palestinian, fall in love in this richly complex film from American-born director Eytan Fox (Walk on Water).
Eastern Promises[September 14]
In the singular new film from David Cronenberg, a London midwife (Naomi Watts) runs afoul of the Russian mob, which includes an enigmatic hit man (Viggo Mortensen). Intensely focused performances (and Russian accents) abound, including great and wrenching work by French actor Vincent Cassel.
Lars and the Real Girl[October 12]
Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, and Paul Schneider form an ace trio in director Craig Gillespie's genuinely funny and very human comedy about a deeply sad man, the life-size doll with which he's smitten, and the Canadian townspeople who come to love her too.
Starting Out in the Evening [November 2]
Andrew Wagner's exquisitely restrained adaptation of Brian Morton's sublime novel about sex and literature and the essential nature of both. Starring Lauren Ambrose, Lili Taylor, and Frank Langella, who is superb, in a career high.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford[September 21]
Filmmaker Andrew Dominik's long-delayed adaptation of Ron Hansen's classic 1983 novel turns out not to be a disaster at all, but a lyrical, sumptuously photographed tone poem, one marked by superb performances from Brad Pitt as James and Casey Affleck (who's having a big year) as Ford, and equally definitive work from Sam Rockwell, Paul Schneider, and Garret Dillahunt.
Love in the Time of Cholera
Nick Wall/New Line Cinema
December Boys [September 14]
Daniel Radcliff as one of four Catholic orphans seeking adventure in 1960s Australia.
In the Valley of Elah[September 14]
Tommy Lee Jones hires private eye Charlize Theron to help him find his missing Iraq vet son. Susan Sarandon co-stars in the new movie from Crash writer-director Paul Haggis.
Rendition [October 19]
Reese Witherspoon as a woman taking on the U.S. government for info about her recently detained Egyptian-born husband. Co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Alan Arkin, and the ubiquitous Meryl Streep.
Love in the Time of Cholera [November 16]
Director Mike Newell and screenwriter Ronald Harwood (The Piano) adapt Gabriel García Márquez's novel of life and love in turn-of-the-century South America. Let's hope they kept the parrot.
Director Brian De Palma's fictionalized take on a March 2006 incident in the Iraqi town of Mahmudiya during which U.S. soldiers raped and killed a young woman and also killed her family.
The Documented World
For the Bible Tells Me So [October 5]
Five Christian families attempt to come to terms with homosexuality in Daniel Karslake's documentary.
The Sky Turns [October 26]
Filmmaker Mercedes Á returns to the Spanish village where no baby has been born since Á herself30 years before.
Fred Claus[November 9]
Vince Vaughn as Santa's repo man brother.
Margot at the Wedding [November 16]
Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are feuding sisters and Jack Black the confused focus of their attentions in this dramedy from The Squid and the Whale's Noah Baumbach.
Humans in Peril
The Last Winter[September 19]
Arctic chiller from Habit director Larry Fessenden.
Hitman [October 12]
Timothy Olyphant as a hired killer marked for death.
Saw IV[October 26]
Words fail us.
The Mist[November 21]
Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont's dream project, a monsters- in-the-fog horror flick based on a terrific 1980 Stephen King novella. Starring Thomas Jane.
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